2016 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt to President-elect: Withdraw illegal environmental regulations

Release Date: Dec 22, 2016

TOPEKA – (December 22, 2016) – Kansas has asked President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to withdraw two illegal environmental regulations immediately upon taking office, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of 25 state attorneys general and two other state officials urged the incoming administration to rescind the “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States” (WOTUS Rule) promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in June 2015. The WOTUS Rule currently is blocked by a federal court order while states, including Kansas, challenge its legality. In blocking the rule, the federal court found the states are likely ultimately to prevail in their legal challenge.

The WOTUS Rule would extend the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach into small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms, ranches and land developments. The new rule would have significant consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks such as digging ditches, building fences or spraying fertilizers.

The letter urges the incoming administration to rescind the WOTUS Rule and instead work with Congress to address any issues of concern through the legislative process. In addition, the attorneys general ask the new administration to consider strategies for addressing the states’ pending litigation immediately upon taking office to avoid the expending of state resources to continue to litigate a rule that violates federal law.

A different, bipartisan group of 22 state attorneys general and two other state officials has asked the incoming administration to rescind the so-called “111(d)” regulation, also known as the “Clean Power Plan,” on the new president’s first day in office. The group also suggests the President-elect follow with formal administrative action to withdraw the regulation and negotiate an end to the pending litigation. The new “111(d)” regulations apply to existing stationary electric power sources and have been blocked by a U.S. Supreme Court order since February, following a request by Kansas and other states, while the states’ legal challenge to the agency’s authority was resolved by the courts.

“These major regulatory initiatives by federal agencies exceed the authority granted by Congress and are plainly illegal,” Schmidt said. “We are challenging them, and the courts have sided with Kansas and the other states. At this point, we think the best course of action is for the new administration to withdraw the illegal rules and address the environmental issues involved in a lawful manner. The current administration’s attempts to bypass the people’s elected representatives in Congress have failed, and we hope the new administration will recognize that rather than continuing to defend these illegal regulations in court.”

Copies of the attorneys generals’ letters to President-elect Trump are available at http://bit.ly/2h91tWh and http://bit.ly/2gZ3ZcN.

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